The Saturated Market
Trying to get your software in the hands of users is one of the hardest parts of the game. Sometimes, you luck out and get an enterprise client, which gets you a captive audience, and often a multi year contract. When trying to get the public’s attention, a solid marketing strategy is required. Other times you try re-invent something on order to grab the worlds attention. Mailbox is tryng the latter approach. They are trying redefine how email is used in the mobile world, and from the look of their promo page, they are off to a good start. They have taken common email tasks and added intuitive gestures that accomplishes these tasks quickly. Accroding their promo site.
To start, Mailbox will only work with Gmail and only on the iPhone. There is no word on what other email providers are in the works. And for now Mailbox is invite only. Its easy enough to get on the list; head to their site and ask for one. This is where a true marketing genius should be recognized.
When Mailbox went live, those who regestired recived a registration code. Once you downloaded the app and entered your code, you were put in line. All that displayed until your turn came up were two counters, one for people left ahead of you, and one for those behind you. Those who signed up in the last couple of days were greeted with a line of at least 500 000 ahead of them. Simply, Mailbox released an application that you could not use. As of Saturday, I had almost ten thousand people ahead of me:
Up Front Marketing – Pure Genius
Like most new web applications, there is the very real reality that the service will not hold up to the strain of the real world. And, like most web services, Mailbox using a graduated rollout. Keep in mind this is how Gmail orginally launched. Graduated rollouts are nothing new in online world. The way Mailbox executed it is new. And they put it right in front of you. This is definitly helping to build buzz around the product. The challenge will be to live up to this buzz that they themselves created.
There is some debate about whether or not this kind of roll out was needed or faked entirely. Those who have built web applications know the reality of launching. All the internal and private testing does not necessarily cover real world network traffic, and the related demands on the server. With this in mind, what Mailbox has done is to be very up front with their users. Which is nice. It builds trust between the user and the software provider. It is a necessary reality software development turned into a nice opportunity.
On the other hand, if what Mailbox did is really just a marketing ploy, they did a fantastic job by building a buzz around their product. They have got people talking about it. And best of all, people are regularly checking in to see how much longer they have to wait. In this case, Mailbox must be an erxcellent product.
No matter what the real intention is, what Mailbox did is pure genius.